Okay. Hmm. I’m not quite sure where to start. This has not traditionally been our problem. We’re good at starts – it’s the finishing that has been eluding us.
So I’ll start with that, and try and keep this brief. Following our latest Flatland “refocus” (as described in the previous blog post) we found ourselves in a difficult position. We knew that the changes we were making were necessary, but it also became apparent that they were killing team morale. No-one felt good about scrapping work they’d been doing for the last however-many weeks, and energy levels quickly sank through the floor.
There were any number of things we could have tried to combat this, so the first thing we did was get together for a brainstorming session, where we came up with a hundred ideas for things we could do to improve everyone’s experience at the company. These ranged from abstract morale-boosters like “go on a helicopter ride” or “get an office plant”, to more practical measures like which projects we actually wanted to pursue.
We then worked through all of the ideas, sorting them into piles based on how important and useful we thought they were. On the practical side, one big idea proved exceedingly popular: let’s take some time off from Flatland, and do something smaller. And beyond that – let’s do it with smaller teams.
We’re good at game jams, and the original Flatland: Fallen Angle was successfully completed in three weeks. It’s only when we turn our attention to longer-form development that the wheels start to wobble. So perhaps baby steps is the answer.
There will be a longer, more detailed post explaining the minutiae soon, but for now, here’s a summary of what we’re planning:
We’ve divided into two three-person teams, who will each be making a game over a six-week period, to be released on an App store of some description. And we’re going to compete! The likely title is “Iron Dev”, in homage to the glorious Japanese cooking show, Iron Chef. Eloise has already done some brilliant art for the website, which you will see soon. There will be judges, and the losing team will have to bake a cake for the winners. I’m already warming up the oven…
Once we finish this little game bake-off, we will be re-assessing our approach to Flatland and our future projects, and keeping you guys in the loop. Anyone who has already paid for the Flatland Alpha will receive an email explaining your options. Stay tuned.